Press TV Nov 20, 2017
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz has for the first time revealed that Tel Aviv has had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia.
“We have ties that are indeed partly covert with many Muslim and Arab countries, and usually [we are] the party that is not ashamed,” Steinitz said in an interview on Army Radio on Sunday.
He added that Saudi Arabia was the side that was interested in hiding its ties with Israel and Tel Aviv had no problem with this.
“But we respect the other side’s wish, when ties are developing, whether it’s with Saudi Arabia or with other Arab countries or other Muslim countries, and there is much more … [but] we keep it secret,” the minister emphasized.
When asked what Israel could gain from contacts with Saudi Arabia, Steinitz said, “The contacts with the moderate Arab world, including with Saudi Arabia, help us to stop Iran. When we fought to get a better nuclear deal with Iran, with only partial success, there was some help from moderate Arab countries vis-à-vis the United States and the Western powers to assist us in this matter and even today, when we press the world powers not to agree to the establishment of an Iranian military base in Syria on our northern border, the Sunni Arab world is helping us.”
His comments came a few days after Chief of Staff of Israeli military, Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot, said Tel Aviv was ready to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia in their joint efforts to confront Iran.
In an interview with the Saudi-owned Elaph online newspaper on Thursday, Eizenkot claimed that Iran was the “biggest threat to the region” and was seeking “to take control of the Middle East.”
He also accused Iran of trying to destabilize the region by building weapons factories and supplying arms to resistance groups such as Hezbollah.
During the past months, there have been numerous reports of the two sides planning to establish full diplomatic ties.
On November 18, Israeli minister of military affairs extended the hand of friendship to Arab countries, calling on them to form an alliance against Iran.
Avigdor Lieberman wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday that the Middle East region now requires an anti-Iran coalition.
A report published earlier in June revealed that Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime were in clandestine talks to establish official economic relations for the first time since the entity was created on the Palestinian territories some 69 years ago.
The Times, citing unnamed Arab and American sources, said in a report on June 17 that forming economic connections between to two, which would be gradual and step by step, could begin by allowing Israeli companies to open shops in the Arab kingdom, or granting El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. permission to fly over Saudi airspace.